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Arturia Efx Motions

Multi-effects Plug-in By John Walden
Published February 2024

Arturia Efx Motions

Arturia’s latest effects plug‑in is designed to help you keep things moving...

The last couple of years have seen some absolutely brilliant creative multi‑effects plug‑ins released, and we’ve reviewed a number of them, including Cableguys’ ShaperBox, Lunatic Audio’s Narcotic, UJAM’s Dynamo, DS Audio’s Tantra and, most recently, Baby Audio’s Transit. If your ear candy jar is running empty, pretty much any of them could be added to your ‘contenders list’, alongside longstanding favourites such as Output’s Movement or Sugar Bytes’ Turnado or Effectrix. And now, Arturia can be added to that list too: their new Efx Motions is a creative effects processor designed, as the name implies, to inject some movement into your sounds. All the usual plug‑in formats for Mac and Windows hosts are supported, including AAX, AU, and both VST2 and VST3.

Motion Picture

At its core, Efx Motions comprises two suites of functionality: a range of effects, and some powerful modulation sources. The effects options include: a set of five individual effects modules that can be arranged in a user‑defined order; a Beat Repeat section (glitch‑style effects that can be triggered using a step sequencer system); and a dual effects processor that can be used to add conventional delay or reverb effects but also has a number of other options.

Each of the five main effects modules includes its own Motion Envelope system and, in addition, there are three global modulators that can be configured as envelopes, step sequencers, random generators or envelope followers. There are also two macro knobs which can be linked to multiple parameters for additional control. Any/all of these virtual knobs (or, indeed, any individual parameter) could easily be linked via the DAW to a hardware controller for hands‑on sound tweaking.

The Motion Envelope for each module can be triggered in a variety of ways including based upon the dynamics of the input signal.The Motion Envelope for each module can be triggered in a variety of ways including based upon the dynamics of the input signal.

Those two macro knobs are located top left of the UI in the plug‑in’s main ‘dashboard’. This topmost strip provides access to the extensive collection of presets that are neatly organised into categories (Gated Rhythms, Glitches, Modulated Filter, Risers, Stutters etc.) and you can, of course, create (and save) your own. The central part of the dashboard area provides the Crossover display, allowing you to confine processing to a specific frequency band. Used with the global Output and Wet/Dry controls, this allows plenty of flexibility to blend unprocessed and processed signals together in some interesting ways.

Just For Effect

The rest of the UI is dominated by the Core section, and this is where we find the five main effects modules (Noise, Drive, Filter, Volume and Pan), which can be drag‑dropped to change the processing order. Clicking on a module header brings it into focus, allowing you to adjust a whole range of properties for that module, such as the specific flavour of effect to be used, various parameters and some of the modulation features. Each module provides pretty much what you’d expect. So, for example, the Filter module includes filter types drawn from some of Arturia’s synth emulations, and there are 10 different styles of distortion to choose between in the Drive module.

The Noise module includes a wide range of noise types to add further character to your sounds, and you can also load your own WAV or AIFF files.The Noise module includes a wide range of noise types to add further character to your sounds, and you can also load your own WAV or AIFF files.

The Noise module is particularly quirky — in a good way! It includes a huge selection of noise sources and styles that you can blend into your signal, including various Foley‑style ambiences. These are based on embedded audio files of about eight seconds in length, and for each type of noise and you can import your own WAV or AIFF files; longer files are compatible but only the first eight seconds will be used. If you have any modulation applied or any other effects in your chain, the fact that the noise component is derived from a short loop isn’t something you notice, other than in a few of the Nature or Foley sources (for example, bird sounds or people laughing). While you can use this module to add textures or lo‑fi grunge to a sound easily, the other main application is, with suitable modulation of the noise level, to create a noise‑based ‘woosh’ riser. So while Efx Motions might not have ‘transition’ in its name, it can certainly be used in that context.

The Beat Repeat section hosts three further effects systems: as well as the main Beat Repeat area there are two effects sections that offer a number of processing options, split into five categories (Ambience, Modulation, Distortions, Dynamics and Filter/EQ). While this whole section is placed after the five modules I’ve already outlined above, the user can change the order of these three components. And although the effects in the Beat Repeat section don’t get their own modulation envelope, you can link parameters to the global modulation options outlined below.

The Beat Repeat panel allows you to step‑sequence a number of DJ‑style effects to add further interest.The Beat Repeat panel allows you to step‑sequence a number of DJ‑style effects to add further interest.

I have to say that the main Beat Repeat section is very cool. It reminds me a little of Sugar Bytes’ Effectrix, in that it allows you to trigger creative DJ‑style effects using a step‑sequencer. It does take a little experimentation to get your head around what’s possible here, but there are some good presets to help get you started, and with sound sources such as drums (via the Roll and Reverse effects, for example) or melodic lines, it can add all sorts of extra sonic details to your underlying sound.

Keep On Moving

While the effects provide plenty of sound‑shaping possibilities, the thing that puts the motion into EFX Motions is the powerful array of modulation options. There are so many details that I can’t possibly cover all the possibilities here, but hopefully what follows will provide a sense of the potential.

For the five core effects modules, the Motion Envelope section is a sensible starting point. You get a fully customisable envelope that targets a key parameter in the module, with lots of preset curves, full user editing and a smoothing function. On the far left, the panel provides a number of different ways the envelope can be triggered including the Clock mode, where the envelope can just loop (with control over the tempo sync to your host project). However, other trigger modes include an Envelope Sequencer, a Euclidean Sequencer (both of these can create some really interesting rhythmic triggers), MIDI (uses MIDI notes) and Transient mode, where you can set a threshold at which the incoming signal triggers the envelope. There is also a Dynamics mode, and this essentially provides an envelope follower, where the amplitude of the incoming signal controls the shape of the envelope. So, for example, if you want more distortion on louder parts of the signal, this is one way to get it.

Providing you’ve activated the Advanced button (top right in the dashboard section), you also get access to the three global modulators at the base of the UI. These can each be configured as envelopes, step sequencers, random generators or envelope followers. Again, you’re given full control over the nature of the envelope or sequencer and its tempo synchronisation. However, what’s cool is the ease with which you can then link a parameter to this modulation source: just click and hold the small icon to the right of the panel’s label until a small X/Y arrow icon appears, then simply drag and drop that onto the target parameter. You can then set the range over which the target parameter is modulated too. Multiple targets can be triggered by each of the three global modulators, and if you want to make things really interesting you can modulate the rate of one global modulator from another — apply the results to distortion or volume and some spectacular glitching effects can be created. Assigning targets for the two macro knobs is done in the same way as with the global modulators. These also support multiple targets and allow the range of modulation to be specified on a per‑parameter basis.

Efx Motions... can transform even the blandest pad into your mix’s rhythmic highlight.

I’ve outlined the broad‑brush strokes of what’s possible, but as with the majority of the creative multi‑effects plug‑ins I mention earlier, Efx Motions will undeniably deliver the best returns to those who are prepared to invest a little more time. Do that and you’ll find that it’s not only capable of some excellent results, but that it can transform even the blandest pad into your mix’s rhythmic highlight. Yet it’s not just for pads: there’s something here to treat or transform almost any sound source. For example, applied to drums, you can conjure all sorts of extra sound elements out of a quite simple loop. Extra bleeps and bloops, stutters, reversed hits, hats with cool delays that are crossing the stereo field while also being filtered... It’s cool on guitars, bass synths, keyboard block chords, turning simple melody lines into something wildly more interesting, and it can do some great vocal tricks too.

Assigning targets to the macro knobs or global modulation options is a simple drag‑and‑drop process.Assigning targets to the macro knobs or global modulation options is a simple drag‑and‑drop process.As mentioned before, whether through the tempo‑sync’ed modulation system or the macro knobs, if you want to apply these kinds of processing possibilities with increasing intensity over a number of bars to build up to a transition, Efx Motions will let you do that too.

Importantly, though, while it’s certainly pretty deep (particularly in terms of the modulation possibilities), Arturia have done a great job in designing the UI to make what’s a sophisticated set of control and modulation options nicely accessible.

Motional Support?

Arturia rightly pitch Efx Motions as a creative multi‑effects processor — while it’s capable of some conventional ambience, modulation or distortion effects, if that’s all you want this is not going to be the best choice. But if electronic and modern pop production is your thing, or perhaps if you’re a media composer looking to expand your collection of ‘weird and wonderful’ sound‑design tools, this new Arturia plug‑in should be right on the money. And talking of money, given what’s on offer here I reckon Efx Motions is competitively priced. For all the madness that can be found in the modern world, the little section of it that is music technology contains some astoundingly good stuff. Arturia’s Efx Motions is an excellent example of that; it’s a brilliant tool for banishing blandness from your music productions.


I’ve mentioned a number of other creative multi‑effects plug‑ins in the main text, but perhaps the closest point of comparison is Baby Audio’s Transit, which was released very shortly before Efx Motions. The two plug‑ins have been pitched in somewhat different ways, with Transit billed as a ‘transitions designer’ and Efx Motions as a more general creative effects designer, and they offer different workflows. But in practice both can easily fulfil either role, and both are excellent too. So a choice between them would probably come down to personal workflow preferences as much as anything else — and that’s something you can judge using the free trial versions.


  • Well‑designed UI makes a deep feature set very accessible.
  • Brilliant tool for adding all sorts of ear candy to almost any sound source.


  • None.


A powerful creative multi‑effects processor with a slick GUI and a price that’s right — electronic music producers in particular will love it.


€99 (about $99).